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Do UK employers care more about the mental health of their employees?

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, UK employers are more likely to offer staff mental health support at work than the global average. The survey found 36% of employers in the UK offered mental health counselling to their staff, compared to just 21% of organisations globally.

Deloitte surveyed over 200 UK employers as part of their 2018 Global Human Capital Trends. According to the results 88% of employers in the UK are working towards improving employee wellbeing, by offering wellness and work life balance programmes in the workplace. This compares to a global average of 82%.

This report follows on from an independent review published by Stevenson-Farmer, which found poor mental health costs the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion a year.  With a reported return of up to £9.00 for every £1.00 invested in workplace intervention programmes the return on investment where such programmes are introduced is clear to see.

The good news is that the importance of addressing mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is being recognised in the UK with 60% of CEO’s reporting that mental health support is considered a priority.  Despite this poor mental health is on the rise with the number of fit notes issued by GP’s for mental illness increasing by 13.5% in 2017.  Additionally, while many are committed to prioritising mental health, the Reward & Employee Benefits Association found that only 16% of CEO’s had a strategy in place to improve it.  In addition, the quality of the mental health programmes offered in the workplace are often quite basic with only 5% of UK employers offering what Deloitte referred to as “extensive” wellbeing programmes, which are actively tracked to measure the impact on workplace productivity and efficiency.

Employers play a key role in supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, particularly in today’s fast-moving work environment.  Whilst the UK is ahead of the global averages, it is clear that more investment in mental health strategies and support in the workplace is required. 

For advice and guidance on how to support employee mental health and wellbeing please contact a member of the team.

 

Do UK employers care more about the mental health of their employees?

Improving the Pensions Regulator– Increase Powers or Increase Resource?

Recent high profile insolvencies (e.g. Carillion and BHS) have seen widespread criticism of the Pensions Regulator ("TPR"). It stands charged with failure to use its intervention powers despite being aware of companies prioritising dividends over deficit recovery contributions, despite trustees urging it to intervene. By the time TPR took action it was too late.
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Improving the Pensions Regulator– Increase Powers or Increase Resource?

Historic increase in Tribunal claims since fees abolished

Tribunal claims have risen 90% following the abolition of Tribunal fees in July 2017 by the Supreme Court in the case of R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor.

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice show that in the last quarter of 2017 some 8,173 single claims were filed with the tribunal system. Disposals and outstanding caseloads of single claims increased by 21% and 66% respectively, compared to the same period in 2016.

The number of multiple employment tribunal claims received has risen by a staggering 467%.  It is thought this is largely due to the high volume of holiday pay cases presented in 2017.

This increase has caused a significant backlog of claims. Parties will need to factor into their case strategy that they will likely have a much longer waiting period for claims to be processed and hearings scheduled.

As ever prevention is better than cure, and employers should ensure they have robust and up-to-date employment polices in place. Additionally, consideration should be given to training for those likely to handle disciplinary and grievance procedures, to mitigate risk of successful claims.

To see our previous post on the rise of tribunal cases please click here, and for an analysis on the Supreme Court decision of R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor please click here.

Historic increase in Tribunal claims since fees abolished

GDPR: is the jargon holding up your preparation?

With the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) a mere 3 months away, it may (or may not) surprise you to learn that 60% of organisations were reported as being not “GDPR ready” at the start of this month. The same report, by software technology firm Senzing, also found that almost 40% of UK-based directors were unsure as to whether they would be GDPR compliant come 25 May.

This is not the first study to reveal a lack of preparation for the GDPR. In January the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport urged business and charities to ensure they were compliant by 25 May after it was revealed that up to 50% were unaware of their new obligations.

With these statistics in mind, this is the first in a short series of jargon-busting blog posts to help tackle some of the confusion surrounding the introduction of GDPR. In this post we look at some commonly used terms in the GDPR which deal with the different types of data and those that will be handling the data:

Personal Data – the GDPR has a broader definition of what constitutes personal data than the Data Protection Act 1998, by incorporating reference to personal identifiers such as name, identification numbers, IP address and location. Generally, it means any information or data which relates to a living individual who can be directly or indirectly identified by it.

Sensitive Personal Data –the GDPR has a broader definition of this term than is the case under the Data Protection Act, as it incorporates biometric and genetic data.  It is also worth bearing in mind that under the GDPR it is no longer called sensitive personal data but is instead referred to as “special categories of personal data”. Personal Data consisting of political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, racial or ethnic origin, or trade union membership, genetic data, biometric data, data regarding health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation will all be classed as “special category” data under the GDPR.

Data Subject – the person to which Personal Data  relates. For example, an employee.

Data Controller – a “person” who (either alone or jointly or in common with other persons) determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal data are, or are to be, processed. This will typically be the business entity employing staff and determining the use of their Personal Data.

Data Processor – unlike the Data Protection Act, the GDPR introduces specific responsibilities directly on Data Processors. These are third parties that process data on behalf of the Data Controller, for example, IT service providers and payroll companies. There are also additional requirement introduced under GDPR in relation to what must be contained in contracts with Data Processors.

Keep an eye on our blog for our next GDPR jargon-buster!

GDPR: is the jargon holding up your preparation?

Introducing our Immigration Practice

Immigration continues to be an area of focus for our clients as they adjust to the changing landscape brought on by Brexit, while continuing to manage a growing list of routine immigration compliance responsibilities and issues.

We understand the pressures on employers and the need for practical immigration advice and tips, information on changes and how to manage them, and commentary on future policy development and potential issues. To assist our clients and contacts we will be sharing regular immigration news updates, editorials on topics such as Brexit and immigration policy developments, upcoming deadlines and changes to be aware of, as well as invites to immigration seminars, training sessions and roundtable events.

In this immigration news update we have a news round-up, dates for your diary and employer actions, and the latest on Brexit.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2018/february/22/introducing-our-immigration-practice

 

Introducing our Immigration Practice

Annual increase in unfair dismissal and weekly pay caps

The following yearly increases have been laid before Parliament and will come into force on 6 April 2018:

  1. The statutory cap on compensatory awards for unfair dismissal will increase from £80,541 to £83,682 (or, if lower, 52 weeks’ pay).
  2. A maximum week’s pay will increase from £489 to £508 (including for redundancy payments and the unfair dismissal basic award).
Annual increase in unfair dismissal and weekly pay caps

LGBT History Month

February marks LGBT History Month in the UK. Aiming to promote tolerance and equality and raise awareness of the prejudices suffered by those within the LGBT community, the campaign was initiated in February 2005 by Schools OUT, an organisation that works to promote LGBT equality in education. The movement has been met with increasing levels of support and LGBT History Month is now observed beyond the education sector, including in many workplaces.
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LGBT History Month

Presidents Club Scandal

Amanda Jones comments on the Presidents Club Scandal in the HuffPost. Click here to read more.

Presidents Club Scandal

Cost vs. benefit of Pension complaints

The Pensions Ombudsman has some key benefits as a venue for employees with pension grievances. Jurisdiction revolves around ‘maladministration’ which can be quite broad and for employees, costs aren’t a real issue.

However given the potential costs raised by these complaints employers and pension schemes often run up large legal and actuarial costs defending Ombudsman claims.

This can lead to some “challenging” cost to benefit analyses for Ombudsman complaints, particularly where there are arguments around payments for distress and inconvenience caused by proven maladministration.

An example being the recent High Court case of Smith v. Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2017] All ER (D) 166 (Oct) where an employee who worked for the NHS lost the right to an unreduced pension due to bad information.

The Ombudsman and the Court both decided that she couldn’t have the unreduced pension, but that an award for inconvenience and distress was appropriate. The Ombudsman decided that she should get £500. The employee wanted £36k based on the Ogden tables. The Court decided it would award £2750.

The question is, how much time and effort did the employer end up spending on defending the claim? Given the outcome, it would have probably been better to carefully check the pensions communications in the first place!

Cost vs. benefit of Pension complaints

So, where’s “mutual agreement” on this pension form?

Pensions and Employment speak different languages and as an employer it's important to have a team working for you that understands both. A recent example arose in the Pensions Ombudsman case of Mr. O (PO-7782).
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So, where’s “mutual agreement” on this pension form?